Friday, 5 April 2013

Power or we die

We are away this week helping to look after our grandson in Bristol. As usual I take my laptop and my ipad to keep up my reading and writing but inevitably the power runs out and I have to plug in my devices to gain more power for me to use them. Power is fundamental to everything that runs from a human body to a radio. What is forgotten however is that the Church is no different. It too needs power. That is evident from the get-go when Jesus told his disciples that they were not to do anything - another way of saying they would not be able to do anything - until the Holy Spirit was present both in them and with them. Here is one of my favourite quotes from A.W.Tozer whose prophetic ministry continues to inspire continuing generations of serious Christians:

"That the church did not perish was due entirely to the miraculous element within her. That element was supplied by the Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost to empower her for her task. For the Church was not an organisation merely, not a movement, but a walking incarnation of spiritual energy. And she accomplished with a few brief years such prodigies of moral conquest as to leave us wholly without an explanation - apart from God.

In short, the Church began in power, moved in power and moved in power just as long as she had power. When she no longer had power she dug in for safety and sought to conserve her gains. but her blessings were like the manna: when they tried to keep it overnight it bred worms and stank. So we have monasticism, scholasticism, institutionalism; and they have all been indicative of the same thing: absence of spiritual power. In Church history every return to New Testament power has marked a new advance somewhere, a fresh proclamation of the gospel, an upsurge of missionary zeal; and every diminution of power has seen the rise of some new mechanism for conservation and defense.

If this analysis is reasonably correct, then we are today in a state of very low spiritual energy: for it cannot be denied that the modern Church has dug in up to her ears and is struggling desperately to defend the little ground she holds. she lacks the spiritual insight to know that her best defense if an offense, and she is too languid to put the knowledge into effect if she had it.

If we are to advance we must have power. Paganism is slowly closing in on the Church, and her only response if an occasional "drive" for one thing or another - usually money - or a noisy but timid campaign to improve the morals of the moves. Such activities amount to little more than a slight twitching of the muscles of a drowsy giant too sleepy to care. there efforts sometimes reach the headlines, but they accomplish little that is lasting, and are soon forgotten. the Church must have power..."
A.W.Tozer "Paths to Power".

Now bearing in mind that that was written 1911 and published in November that year by Christian Publications that's a pretty accurate diagnosis of the present condition the Church is in, at least the Church in Wales. And yet prayer is ignored, institutionalism reigns and the hierarchy continues to issue dictums on when candles should be put out during Evensong! When are we going to throw up our hands in penitent despair and ask God to help us fulfill his commission to preach the Kingdom of Heaven?

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